enter image description hereI have a fence, nearby which around which the ground is not level. the Kick boards (pressure treated) are around 2' high. Can i fill dirt and use fence as retaining wall. there is a post every 4'.

If so what kind of moisture barrier i should use before putting the dirt.

It is a good idea to create some type of drainage system in the area next to fence?

UPDATE: putting the Pictures as per the suggestion.

enter image description here

  • 5
    picture and fence material would help
    – DMoore
    May 15, 2015 at 20:07
  • nice question (and answers!) thx . I was looking for a different type of problem but happened on this one. Jun 5, 2021 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


You can hold up 2' of dirt with wood structures. That's essentially what wood planter boxes are. But will it look good? Probably not...at least, not over time. Wood is flexible, gets wet, gets sun damaged, and the posts supporting it will suffer the same fate. If you don't care about looks, then it's probably OK, but if you want it to look OK over time, I'd suggest you consider retaining wall blocks or the like.


Coming back to this as I think I answered before I saw the photo. I think you could probably make this work. However, I don't see a whole lot of space between the fence and the side of the house. Do you have a basement? If so, this slope is probably intentional to provide adequate surface run-off to keep your basement dry. Do you live in an area where you can get heavy rains at time? If so, I'd suggest not leveling this part of the yard.

  • Thanks for the reply. Will the wood rot if it is pressure treated and i put a moisture barrier (pond liner or other polythene based moisture barrier). Also if have to build a retaining Wall how far it should be from the exiting fence. Can i just stack stone (bricks) on top of each other without putting mortar between then. I am being little const sensitive here
    – David
    May 17, 2015 at 1:02
  • Also how long (just a guess) will the wood fence sustain it?
    – David
    May 17, 2015 at 1:04
  • For longevity and easy maintenance I'd go with landscape block. They stack like legos. No mortar. But another option if you want to stay low-cost would be railroad ties. They'd likely support the dirt better than the fence. They're messy, though. But cheap.
    – DA01
    May 17, 2015 at 3:42
  • @David I updated my answer. I noticed you had posted photos after I had originally answered.
    – DA01
    Jun 21, 2015 at 3:22
  • Thanks DA01. This is really helpful. There is around 20' of space between foundation and the fence. I live in California, so usually it doesn't rain much. I don't have basement rather than its 2' high crawl space. Do you suggest to grade it towards the fence. Put drain collector near the fence to put most of the water out of the property
    – David
    Jun 25, 2015 at 18:38

I see from the picture you have 4' centers with your 4x4 posts. Your fine as long as the lumber is PT. Pt standard grade Douglas Fir - ground contact is the best.

  • Note that there are different grates of pre-treated lumber. In this case, you need to ensure you are going with ground-contact PT.
    – DA01
    Jun 21, 2015 at 3:23
  • @DA01 How do you tell by looking if it is a ground-contact PT or regular PT? Lumber was bought by my contractor long back and i don't have the receipt. Is there any way just by looking into it.
    – David
    Jun 25, 2015 at 18:37
  • @David there should be a stamp somewhere on the lumber that lists out the grade and other information. See if you can find one and add a picture. Maybe someone can figure it out from that.
    – DA01
    Jun 25, 2015 at 19:19
  • Its a sticker there are no stamps. It used to be .40 per cubic foot of treatment that was rated for ground contact. In 2002 the EPA banned the main ingredient Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) that made PT posts and lumber that lasted decades.epa.gov/oppad001/reregistration/cca
    – Chris C
    Jun 27, 2015 at 14:20
  • The rating system has also changed. Now pressure-treated lumber is treated with inorganic chemicals rather than arsenate. The most common chemicals used are Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ), Copper Azole (CA), CCA retention levels were .25 for above-ground use and .40 for ground contact. Now the stickers you need seek for Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ), Copper Azole (CA).06 for above-ground use and .15 for ground. I buy truck loads of pt every week. contact.epa.gov/oppad001/reregistration/cca
    – Chris C
    Jun 27, 2015 at 14:34

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